HC Deb 04 July 1845 vol 82 cc13-4
Mr. Baine

presented a petition from two persons of the name of Scott, praying; that the House would give leave to Mr. Paskin and three other officers of the House to attend as witnesses in the Common Pleas, in an action brought by Messrs. Scott against the hon. C. F. Berkeley.

Mr. Bernal

said, that the circumstances out of which this trial and petition arose were these:—In the year 1837 or 1838 an application was made to the hon. Member for Cheltenham (Mr. C. Berkeley) to become a director in the Steam Navigation Company to India by the Cape of Good Hope. That offer Mr. Berkeley declined, and he heard no more of it for a time; but at length it came to his knowledge that a private Bill had passed through the House, and that his name had been inserted in it as a director, in (as we understood) the same company; but his hon. Friend had assured him (Mr. Bernal) that such a proceeding was without his sanction or knowledge. The speculation did not succeed, and not long after an action was brought against his hon. Friend and others for a sum of 30,000l., the expense of building a ship for the company at Beyrout. Under these circumstances he hoped the House would reject the prayer of the petition, by negativing the Motion.

Mr. C. Berkeley

was quite willing that the Motion should be carried, as far as he was personally concerned, but positively denied that his name had been inserted in the Bill with his approbation.

Mr. Warburton

did not think the House would be justified in stopping the progress of a cause merely because an hon. Member was concerned in it as a defendant. He imagined that the hon. Member would be anxious that the whole matter should be fully investigated.

Mr. C. Berkeley

added that he had no wish to stand in the way of the most searching inquiry. His name had been used without any authority from him.

Mr. Hume

urged that whatever was usually done in such cases, ought to be done in this case.

Sir G. Clerk

did not see how the officers of the House could be wanted to identify a Member, as was alleged in the petition, when so many other means of identification must exist. He considered the prayer of the petition unprecedented, and though the House would never stand in the way of public justice, it would not consent that its officers should be required to attend a court of law on so frivolous a ground.

Motion negatived.

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